Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

A Very Mixed Outlook for the Texas Drought

The latest drought monitors and forecasts for Texas are a study in contrast. Take a look at the U.S. Drought Monitor Map for the state and you might feel like jumping for joy: large swaths of the state are drought-free. Less than one percent of the state is in the worst stage of drought. During the peak of the drought in October 2011, that figure was at 88 percent. The drought map hasn’t looked this good since early December 2010:


But dig a little deeper and examine the state of reservoirs in Texas and you’ll see a different story. (The Drought Monitor Map tracks soil moisture, not reservoir levels.) Overall, the state’s reservoirs are only 63 percent full, according to data from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). In the western half of the state, many are empty are empty or near-empty.

Even in the wetter eastern half of Texas, which saw above-average precipitation recently, you’ll find some reservoirs that are less than half full:

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What comes next? The latest three-month drought outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) further enhances the dividing line between the dry west half of Texas and wetter east half of Texas:


In short, the drought is forecast to get worse for parts of the state that needs rain the most. For the eastern half of Texas, improvement will likely continue. You can read more about the Texas drought at our topic page: Everything You Need to Know About the Texas Drought


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